The city of Palmdale originated from two small communities, known as Harold and Palmenthal. These early communities were established in the late 1880s, and are considered to have laid the foundations of what would become Palmdale.
In 1886, between 60 and 70 German-Swiss Lutheran families settled in the areas, migrating from Nebraska and Illinois. Land promoters had told them that palm trees grew by the Pacific coast, and to look for these trees. When the pioneers saw the Antelope Valley’s Joshua trees, they mistook these for palm trees and decided to settle in the area.
These early pioneers called their community Palmenthal, which is German for “valley of palms”. English settlers called the area Palmdale.
In 1893, this original German settlement of Palmenthal (also known as Old Palmdale) was losing importance. Two miles west of this site, a new town-site was developed when the Southern Pacific Railroad installed helper engine facilities. This new community was called Palmdale Station and became known as New Palmdale or West Palmdale.